Sequel fuels hot start to Filmart

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Expect strong sales from this year's Hong Kong Filmart, exhibitors said, based on two busy initial days.

Hong Kong's Universe Entertainment reported additional sales for the highest-profile movie selling at Filmart, "The Stormriders II," with Scorpio East picking up Singapore rights, Monofilm purchasing rights for Thailand and Teguh Bakti Mandiri buying distribution rights in Indonesia. Prices were not disclosed.

Universe earlier had announced that Golden Harvest has acquired Hong Kong rights to "Stormriders II," with Golden Harvest and parent company Chengtian buying them for China. The pair will split distribution among the cinemas they own throughout the country.

In the first two days of Filmart, Malaysia's delegation of 28 companies secured deals worth $13.5 million, according to Adam Ham, of the country's Multimedia Development Corp. They included a three-feature film deal between Malaysia's Film Point and Orisa of Italy; Cartoon4Kids with Creative Power Entertaining of China to develop two animated series; Macera Technology of Malaysia and Bubble Mon Licensing of Hong Kong to develop mobile phone games and to distribute Bubble Mon's video clips to Malaysia and around Southeast Asia.

Malaysia's FrameMotion Studio also signed a deal to co-produce a 3-D animated TV series with Beijing Donghai International Movie & TV Culture and another pact to co-produce a virtual reality program and a 3-D animated TV series with an unnamed Italian company.

In addition, Disney has expressed interest in worldwide distribution for the Mandarin-language $15 million supernatural thriller "Painted Skin," according to Michael Lai, distribution manager for Eastern Mordor Film, the film's international sales agent. He said he hoped to close the deal at Cannes.

Star TV bought the film's pay-TV rights for Taiwan and other Asian territories, Lai said, but provided no further details.

On Monday, Fortissimo announced that it sold South Korean rights for Majid Majidi's "The Song of Sparrows" to Unikorea.

Other exhibitors from around the region agreed that Filmart, which wraps Friday, is so far quite active.

"Hong Kong has traditionally been busy for us," said Tom Oh, international sales and acquisitions chief of South Korea's CJ Entertainment. "We think our sales this year should end up better than last year, and presales for our projects have been strong."

South Korean film producer Jonathan Kim said that there was a lot of buying going on regarding IPTV, which is developing rapidly in Korea.

Canada, France, Spain, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia all sent larger contingents than for the 2007 market, and all reported busy schedules throughout the first two days.

Karen Chu and Julian Ryall contributed to this report.
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